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Characters from The Dresden Files, Harry's household.

WARNING! Due to the books relying heavily on mystery and surprise, the pages would be virtually unreadable with excessive spoiler tags. Therefore, all spoilers except for the most recent novel (Skin Game) are UNMARKED. Tread carefully.

Our hero, his semi-loyal pets, and the dirty-minded familiar that lives in his skull. (A skull he owns, anyway.)

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    Harry Dresden 

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden
Chicago's very own wizard PI at work.

My job hadn't changed: When demons and horrors and creatures of the night prey on this city, I'm the guy who does something about it.

Our hero, a smart-assed private investigator and wizard with a really big cat, an even bigger dog, and a dark past. Since he killed his mentor in a magical duel after said Evil Mentor's failed attempt to bring him over to The Dark Side, he's been under very serious suspicion by the White Council as a potential warlock. Only Ebenezar McCoy's intervention stopped him from being executed. Now he makes a living helping the helpless and beating the snot out of vampires, but he's starting to realize that his family history is a lot more complicated than he had suspected...

  • Action Dad: To his daughter, Maggie. He wiped out the entire Red Court to save her and has outsmarted Nicodemus and ruined his credibility in the supernatural community.
  • The Alleged Car: The Blue Beetle is junk. Literally so as of Changes after a Red Court monster ripped it apart beyond even Mike the Mechanic's famous skill.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: In-universe, Murphy notes most muggles he interacts with wouldn't have a hard time thinking this even if it's not the case. It would be easy for an armchair psychiatrist to put Dresden somewhere on the autism spectrum, as he is a self-declared wizard who never looks people in the eyes, has a near-pathological need to snark, bad personal hygiene, and Nerves of Steel that means he responds little to things normal people would lose their wits over. From Harry's POV he has logical reasons for most of these (avoid soulgazes, no electricity or mirrors in his apartment, Seen It All when it comes to supernatural horror, etc.), but that doesn't make him seem any less weird to anyone who doesn't believe in magic.
  • Animal Motifs: Indirectly, but horses. Harry is nicknamed "Hoss" by his mentor, and later becomes a Knight (of the Fae)- a position symbolized in chess by a horse's head. When he completes Mab's training, she laughs "like a little girl who has just been told she’s getting a pony." Word of Jim confirms Harry himself has a love for horses that he developed while living under Ebenezer McCoy's tutelage.
  • Anti-Hero: Pragmatic Hero. He's generally a good guy with a bad case of Chronic Hero Syndrome and Honor Before Reason, but piss him off and you'll wish you'd never been born. Such as when he maimed Quintus Cassius for trying to take advantage of the Knights' code of conduct, or he exterminated the Entire Red Court.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: He is the Knight In Sour Armor who always does the right thing. This quote from Ghost Story sums it up nicely.
    No, it wasn't. But the world wasn't a fair place, was it? And I had more reason to know it than most people twice my age. The world wasn't nice, and it wasn't fair. People who didn't deserve it suffered and died every single day.
    So what? So somebody ought to do something about it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: He may seem slow, but Harry has a careful and analytical mind when it suits him. His questions in White Night gave a shadow of a fallen angel reason to believe that she could (and should) make a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Back from the Dead: As of Cold Days, he gets back up after he was sniped and fell into Lake Michigan. It took the combined efforts of Demonreach, Mab, and the spirit in his head to keep his body alive for the six months his soul was set loose, and sent to Limbo Chicago and then Chicago proper. Though from how he describes the situation to Butters, Butters is of the mind Harry was in a deep coma; though it's been remarked by several entities that, metaphysically, he was clearly dead and back again.
  • Bad Dreams: Mostly of things burned into his mind from using his Sight, such as the skinwalker.
  • Bad Liar: One would imagine that someone capable of hatching a half-decent plan with a half-second's notice would be able to lie half-decently, but Harry simply cannot. Averted in the later books, thanks to sheer practice. By the beginning of Proven Guilty, Murphy becomes concerned about him because was actually able to tell a convincing lie.
  • Badass Baritone: Aftermath (which is narrated by Murphy) mentions that Harry's voice is usually soft, but when he's either in combat or deliberately trying to intimidate someone, he has a resonant baritone. Since Harry never mentions it in any of his books, it's possible he's not really aware of it.
    • Which describes how he sounds in the audio books pretty well. Given that Aftermath was written well after the first audiobooks were published, it's possible Butcher was inspired by them.
  • Badass Beard: Every once in a while.
  • Badass Bookworm/Genius Bruiser: Depending on where you place his six foot eight, but skinny, person. As of Skin Game it seems like his relentless physical training as the Winter Knight has pushed him permanently into the latter, with him noting when he enters a formal occasion with Hannah Ascher on his arm that while she, a beautiful and apparently non-threatening young woman, is overlooked by the security goons, in him they see "one of their own kind, who had better scars than they did."
  • Badass in Distress: Becomes a Distressed Dude on a regular basis and cannot always get out on his own.
  • Badass Longcoat: Harry wears a duster. A magically reinforced, black leather duster "with extra billow" that can repel almost any physical attack. After the original was destroyed in Changes, Molly got him a new one in Cold Days.
  • Badass Teacher:
    • Played With. To Molly, he'll go through hell to protect her; and though his teaching can come off as harsh and enigmatic, he's actually rather soft on her by White Council standards.
    • He was also an instructor for the young Wardens at Luccio's bootcamp for a time. When an attack by ghouls resulted in two of the recruits getting killed and eaten, he makes sure the attackers suffer for it to an extent that even other Wardens thought he was going too far.
  • Beard of Sorrow: In Summer Knight, Harry's so obsessed with saving Susan that he neglects everything else, including hygiene.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Harry's favorite trick is turning his foes' weapons against them. From bound demons and hexenwolf belts to zombie dinosaurs and bloodline curses, Harry doesn't just stop the bad guys' ploys, but volleys them right back at the villains themselves.
  • Being Good Sucks:
    • Harry is regularly forced into bad situations where, regardless of what he does, he will step on good people's toes and cause them great grief. In Grave Peril, his earlier poor choices led him to choose between watching Bianca slaughter an innocent girl and unmake Amoracchius (which isn't even his) or break his promise of good conduct and start a war with the Red Court. Lampshaded by Bianca and the headstone she gives him, with the epitaph "He died doing the right thing."
    • This trope really describes his life in general. The whole reason he lives in Perpetual Poverty in a crummy basement flat is that he chose to scrape together a living as a private investigator rather than go into a career that would make him lots of money but wouldn't have any opportunities to help people in need. This is pointed out on several occasions, though from time to time, fate rewards him for being a good guy.
  • Big Entrance: Harry is fond of those, especially when he's pissed and wants to intimidate. In Storm Front, he uses a wind spell to rip open the doors of Marcone's restaurant outwards before announcing himself. In White Night he stages another one among the white court, walking in while slamming a force spell through his staff in the ground of the cavern to make a tremor ripple through it, while wearing his Warden's cloak. As a result of this tendency, Marcone has had flimsy, light doors installed at dramatic - rather than practical - entry points of his businesses for magical monsters and practitioners.
  • Blessed with Suck: As the Winter Knight, Harry gains a degree of Super Strength, a Healing Factor, more magical juice and access to ice magic... but in return, it gives him a vulnerability to cold iron with a side order of mind-warping and psychopathic predatory impulses. On top of that, losing the Mantle (by breaking the laws the Winter Fae abide by) causes all injuries and defects the mantle "cured" to return, undiminished.
    • In Skin Game, Butters theorizes the Winter Knight's mantle isn't power-imbuing as much as it being psychosomatic, with increased testosterone increasing aggression and strength paired running the human body with the limits turned off. You know, like the limits that keep one from breaking their own bones, shredding their own muscles, or running themselves to death by exhaustion. Murphy's counterpoint is that Butters is pointing out facts that fit multiple theories - though Harry himself thinks it's plausible.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: No formal education? Harry's a high school dropout with a GED. Unschooled language? Slang, snark, and pop-culture references galore. No independent source of money? Harry makes his living as a PI. City dweller? Chicago. Focus on practical magic? Pretty much. Blue collar family? As far as we know, yes.
    • In addition to slinging spells and has a pretty good knowledge base of magical theory and the supernatural communities, Harry uses revolvers and a number of magical gadgets that slowly grows into a small arsenal (until the chain of events in Changes leaves him next to nothing to his name). His skills as a PI are pretty considerable, and it comes with a working knowledge of Chicago's underworld and a number of legally dubious items, like unprescribed painkillers, a sawn-off shotgun or two, and a good set of lockpicks.
  • Book Dumb: Played with. Harry's a smart guy and pretty well-read, but he never finished high school. Which is in stark contrast to the many, many advanced degrees held by the rest of the White Council. On top of that, the Council conducts all its business in Latin: Harry can understand it pretty well, but speak it, not so much. Stupid correspondence course.
  • Buffy Speak: This gem from Fool Moon:
  • Catchphrase: Not obvious, but he's got a few phrases that he likes. The most prominent is "Groovy."
  • Character Development:
    • Starts out reckless & impulsive (if well-meaning), steadily gains brains, caution, & better judgment.
      • One mark of this is to count how many times per book he uses the Indy Ploy vs. Xanatos Speed Chess. In earlier books, he would stumble into a situation and then make something up, but as the series goes on, he becomes wiser, more manipulative, and much more able to pull off cunning plans.
    • The first couple books have him sticking to the idea that knowledge of the supernatural is dangerous and should generally be kept to oneself. After this attitude blows up in his face a few times, he starts accepting that sometimes people need to be clued in to survive.
    • It's subtle, but after Summer Knight, he is much more respectful to the Faerie Queens than he was the first time he met them.
  • The Chessmaster: While Harry is often fighting above his weight class in this category, he evolves into this over the course of the novels. Mab explicitly expects him to outmaneuver Nicodemus in Skin Game, with Murphy pointing out that it is what he's good at, and he manages to do so... with a little help.
  • The Chew Toy: Jim has said his whole career revolves around torturing Harry.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Harry would never take advantage of a girl, but that doesn't mean he won't look. Even if the woman in question is a Faerie Queen.
  • The Chosen Many: Harry learned only in the main series that he is a "Starborn", one born under a confluence of events (which happens to line up exactly with Halloween night), and it gives him power over Outsiders. It's why Justin adopted him and, it is hinted, Elaine. It's strongly implied that his mother arranged the circumstances of his birth so this would happen and this may be why she married Malcolm Dresden in the first place.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome:
    • In Turn Coat, Lara realizes that Harry is protecting Warden Morgan from the Council's own internal manhunt because people in trouble go to him and he helps them.
    • And he has a massive Guilt Complex to go with that Chronic Hero Syndrome. It originated when he was escaping from Justin, as he got a civilian involved by trying to rob him, only for He Who Walks Behind to come along and brutally kill the young man. The Chronic Hero Syndrome also feeds his Guilt Complex-whenever he fails to save someone, he always blames himself.
  • The Collector of the Strange: Vampire teeth. He also has a variety of *very* odd things in his lab, including depleted uranium powder and a sack baggy made of the scrotum of a lion ("It was a gift.").
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Primarily the reason that Harry continues to assert that he is not a "good" person. Occasional forays into spur of the moment damsel rescuing aside, Harry rarely ever goes into a situation without being prepared and more tellingly, if he sees an opportunity to get the upper hand over a superior opponent by playing dirty, he doesn't hesitate to use it.
    • He's perfectly willing to use a gun or hand-to-hand combat when that would work better than magic, which is especially effective since a lot of people expect him to be a stereotypical Squishy Wizard who has no combat skills other than magic.
      Harry: [after punching a bad guy in the face] Man, the yahoos I scrap with never anticipate that tactic.
  • Creature of Habit: To a degree that even his enemies know and they have used it against him occasionally.
  • Cruel to Be Kind
    • When training with Justin. Justin practised this old mentality of wizard training. He would strike Harry not in anger, but to make him work at the problem again. He didn't raise his voice, but pushed Harry hard. He used baseballs to make Harry get his shields even stronger. If not for the betrayal and brainwashing, this is considered the accepted method of training a wizard.
    • Averted with Harry to Molly. He would push her, make her think about her actions, and such, but never was as hard or cruel to her as Justin was to Harry or Lea would be to Molly. However, Lea argues that his hand-holding and being a second-father-figure to the girl fails her needs. Pain motivates people, pushing them hard to make them find their limits and surpass them, and both are needed to be a well-trained wizard - thus Harry's failings helped Molly fall off the wagon in Ghost Story.
    • However, given Lea's character and point of view, the Winter Court's vested interest in both a Molly and a Harry that are susceptible to this point of view, and the revelation that it wasn't Harry's teaching style or lack thereof that led to Molly's breakdown but the fact that a Fallen Angel's whisper influenced Harry into arranging his own death and enlisting Molly's help in making him forget that he had done so, this is fairly arguable.
  • Cultured Badass: Not as much as other examples, but he does compose a brief poem and whistle Carmen while hyped up on magic coffee in Fool Moon, is very knowledgeable about fairy tales and mythology, mentions some familiarity with Vivaldi in White Night, and in Skin Game is able to identify the painting styles of individual Renaissance masters at a glance.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: So, so much. Even he doesn't know all the details of just how dark and troubled it really is.
  • Dark Shepherd: Occasionally acts like this, especially with Molly— see the fireball scene in White Night. He tries to be nicer to his friends, but when push comes to shove, he needs to work to not make his allies fear him rather than respect him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Constantly, to the point where his influence has turned several of his friends and associates into snarkers too. And when he isn't snarking at his enemies, he is typically going balls-to-the-wall and they will soon suffer for pissing him off.
  • Deal with the Devil: He's turned down a lot of these over the course of the series, but some he did accept for the right price.
    • Played with in Changes. He accepts Mab's to become her Knight in exchange for the power to protect his daughter and save her. However, Harry quickly notes she is evil, dark, and dangerous, she is not his worst Devil available. He could have Chosen the Denarians or even become a necromatic god to save his daughter.
    • He previously accepted, and subverted, Lasciel's. He took knowledge from the Shadow only to the point it is necessary to avert the major crisis but it is always a last resort to him. Eventually, the Shadow realizes Harry will never truly accept the coin.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Harry infuses a bullet with Soulfire in Cold Days to do massive damage to He-Who-Walks-Before when he administers a headshot to the demon.
  • Destructive Savior: When destroying buildings is a Running Gag, you know you've got one on your hands.
    • Ghost Story reveals that the first magical battle he engaged in at sixteen, against He Who Walks Behind, ended with an entire gas station exploding. And the fallout of the Battle of Chichen Itza results in a massive power vacuum across the better part of a continent, if not the entire supernatural world.
    • In "The Warrior" Harry sees an electrician on Michael's construction crew about to go to work drunk. Harry hexes a transformer to blow out power to the construction site, stopping work until the man sobers up. Although Michael appreciates that Harry stopped the man, he points out that Harry simply could have told him about the situation.
      Harry: That's not how I roll.
      • Summed up perfectly a few lines later in the same story.
        Harry Dresden. Saving the world, one act of random destruction at a time.
  • Determined Defeatist: In the climax of nearly every novel, Harry has accepted that he'll most likely die, and sets out to accomplish his goal anyway, without factoring in his own survival. His survival ends up being ensured anyway, somehow or other. Usually.
  • Disappeared Dad: As of Changes, when he finds out about his daughter for the first time, though technically he's been one since Blood Rites.
  • Determinator:
    • He's usually been shot, stabbed, beaten, and kicked in the guts enough times to kill most men before the real fight even starts.
    • It's implied that being this is a prerequisite for being a powerful wizard. As one needs to wholly believe in their magic to do it, have the confidence and mind to not break under harsh circumstances or Seeing something that rapes the mind. He needs to hold it together.
  • Dramatic Irony: He is not an incubus, like his half-brother is, and yet every woman he's had a child with is dead.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Harry becomes one of these to some of his enemies. At one point in Changes, when he encounters a Red Court vampire (who happens to be one of their oldest, deadliest, and most capable assassins), it panics and runs away screaming.
    • In the same book, when he barges in on a meeting, a Senior Council member orders the Wardens to escort him out. They were half a dozen old guard, decades of combat experience and centuries of training and skill to their names, individually. Harry simply asks if they're certain they want to do it. Every single one stops walking.
      • He also realizes that he's this to the Senior Council, when he considers what his accomplishments must look like to them from the outside .
    • Molly points out in Ghost Story that his reputation kept a lot of lesser supernatural nasties out of Chicago. Unfortunately, this means that after his death in Changes, the situation in the city deteriorates rapidly.
  • Driven to Suicide: Harry in Changes. After being lied to by a Fallen about everything being his fault, he decides he would rather die than become Mab's creature.
  • Enhanced Punch: Harry wears enchanted rings that sap a tiny amount of kinetic energy every time he moves his arm, to be released at his command. Fully charged, the rings can give him a punch strong enough to knock over a car. He originally wore one ring, but eventually went up to a whole fist full of them.
  • Elemental Powers: Naturally, a wizard can do all of them as part of their magic set, but individuals have different strengths. Harry specializes in a few; in Changes he notes that his mentor made him learn at least one spell from each of the four classical elements so that he'd have experience with all of them.
    • Playing with Fire: Harry's signature is fire. It's highly offensive magic (as Harry is reminded to his chagrin from time to time), and his blasting rod is a magical focus meant to use fire exclusively. It's later enhanced by Hellfire, one instance with Summer Fire, and then later he gains permanent access to Soulfire. Ironically, the power of the Winter Mantle can be used to empower his fire spells, and the effect mixes surprisingly well with Soulfire.
      • Lea even lampshades this at a couple of points.
    Lea: Honestly, child. There are elements other than fire, you know.
    • Pure Energy: His second most used spell is using kinetic force. While it was initially limited to storing it up using rings and could only release it with physical contact (i.e. a punch), he eventually gains enough control to shoot the energy stored up in his rings to good effect. He also can use it on a much smaller scale without his rings to mimic the effects of telekinesis.
      • Less flexibly used than fire, but certainly with almost as much frequency. Harry uses this to create his magic shield. Initially, it was useful in deflecting and absorbing kinetic energy (i.e. bullets and charging mooks), but barely surviving an encounter with Mavra and her flamethrower-wielding Renfields lead him to upgrading it to cover a fuller spectrum of harm, but it's more taxing on Harry. He usually compensates by raising it to cover quadrants and keeping tabs on when he needs to keep it up moment by moment. He can also form it into different shapes.
    • Blow You Away: Early in the series, Harry used a wind spell, mostly to manipulate the world around him before he got a good handle on kinetic energy. Because air magic isn't his strong point, his wind spell and similar magic has been mostly obsolete since, though they start to come back, for example in Skin Game, when he uses a Soulfire-infused cyclone in a duel with Hannah Ascher.
    • Gravity Master: Using earth magic, Harry has a spell where he can "borrow" gravity from a broad area for a moment and focus it into a much smaller area to create crushing g-force. It's one spell, and it takes some time to work it for an effect that lasts just a second or so, but it packs a serious punch.
    • An Ice Person: One of the effects of the Winter Mantle is that Harry gets much easier access to ice, an element he had access only by pulling energy out of the environment to freeze water. Now, Harry can just pull it up with as much effort as he could his fire.
    • Holy Hand Grenade: After he loses access to Hellfire, the Archangel Uriel covertly gives Harry access to Soulfire, the "fires of creation." It gives Harry the ability to infuse his magic with portions of his soul, being compared to combining concrete and rebar into something much stronger than either could be on their own (and also giving his magic a silvery glow when he uses it). Initially, it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, infusing Harry's fire magic and even leading him to accidentally creating a giant magical hand out of fire. Despite the name, he can use it with all of his spells to give them some extra punch, but it really comes into its own when creating something like an illusion or a construct, and of course when invoking Holy Burns Evil. The downside is that it still uses up bits of his soul, and that could be a real danger for Harry if he uses it too much without giving himself time to recover what was used up.
  • Everyone Can See It: Harry's UST with Murphy, starting after his final breakup with Susan in Death Masks. Thomas and Mouse are both Shipper on Deck, and it gets to the point where someone comments on it almost every book. In Skin Game, Nicodemus leverages it along with Karrin's Violently Protective Girlfriend streak to advance his schemes, and Harry's own Id asks him straight out 'Why the hell haven't you banged Murphy?' Notably, Harry just stutters before barking 'Look, it's complicated, alright?'
  • Eyes Always Averted: He always tries to avoid eye contact, since for a wizard, direct eye contact starts a soulgaze, or a direct experience of that person's innermost character. The memory of a soulgaze never fades, and the experience can be fairly traumatic. This trope is averted with people like Susan, Ebenezar, and Marcone, whom he's already soulgazed.
  • Famed in Story:
    • It's gotten to the point where nasties rarely come to Chicago unless he's a specific part of their plans, since they know it's a bit of a death sentence, and the other Wardens are scared to attack him when they outnumber him six to one (and these are the oldest and strongest veterans from the Vampire War) and have three members of the Senior Council with them (all three of whom, Harry notes, can tie him in knots single-handedly), and he can barely stand.
    • Those nasties by the way? We can add Nicodemus to the list of things that are afraid of Harry. According to Word Of Jim, Nicodemus is now terrified of Harry. Let me repeat that. Nicodemus, the two thousand year old man who is allied with a fallen angel and has been fighting Holy Knights and the various supernatural entities in the world for literally thousands of years, is now terrified of a wizard less than forty years old.
    • As a result of all this, he's pretty much the Champion of Chicago. No small-time mage or other supernatural creature would start anything serious for fear that the Wrath of Dresden would come down upon them. His death was far more destructive than he knew.
    • Stories of his exploits also stretch to the Nevernever, in particular a certain tale involving a doughnut that had all of Faerie laughing for months.
  • Family Eye Resemblance: In Summer Knight Martha Liberty says his eyes resemble his mother.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • His old-fashioned chivalry. He is a sucker for a Damsel in Distress. As of later books he seems to be getting over this, at least in the Wouldn't Hit a Girl sense, thanks in part because many of his deadly enemies have been of the female sex, including Aurora, Lara, Lasciel, Diedre, Rosana, Mab, Titania, Mother Winter, Tessa, the Corpsetaker, Duchess Arianna, and Maeve.
    • Acting without thinking or considering the consequences seems to be a long-term problem Harry faces, coming to a head over the course of Changes and Ghost Story. Letting his emotions decide his actions becomes such a serious flaw that he even exploits the expectation of it in Small Favor.
      • Subsequent to this, he also has a habit of mouthing off to authority/powerful figures when he really should keep his mouth shut. This is generally done to suppress or hide his own fear.
    • Temptation to power is another deep-rooted flaw. Harry used Black Magic at a young age, and the power of dark magic still tugs at him. In more than a few cases, the temptation of power has snuck in when he least expected it, causing him to do more damage than he intended or get distracted by the raw joy of using that power. Lasciel's influence may have had some effect on this as well.
    • His refusal to tell his friends and allies about important, potentially life threatening, information. It was worse early on to the point Murphy has him arrested out of sheer frustration but it's still a recurring flaw. For example, if Harry had told Thomas about the deal with Mab, he could have talked Harry out of being Driven to Suicide.
    • And his self-esteem/abandonment issues, which have fucked him over multiple times. He constantly holds himself to impossibly high standards and measures that even Michael Carpenter could scarcely believe.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: A big part of the White Council's philosophy on apprenticeship and developing as a Wizard is learning by figuring out some things for oneself. Harry's understanding of how magic works in his world is incomplete. This is because he really wasn't taught or trusted by the most knowledgeable. Those who do know refrain from telling him because they believe it is important that he figure things out on his own.
    Does Harry have an incorrect understanding of the Darkhallow and other parts of the world?
    Butcher: Oh god yes. I won't say Harry is clueless, but his understanding of lots of things including the way that magic works is incomplete in many ways. If only because he hasn't been trusted by a lot of the wizarding community by a lot of the people who could have taught him better. And a lot of the people who do know better aren't correcting him because they think it's important to learn these things on your own.
    • As part of her apprenticeship, he gave Molly the task of magically making a string stand straight up and the beads on it rise to the top. For a green newbie like Molly, it would seem unreasonable and next to impossible, but the lesson was that it wasn't about magical muscle as much as that she needed to be in the right frame of mind to effectively use magic.
  • First-Person Smartass: To the point that one of his defining traits in the Dresden Files RPG is "Epic Wiseass." In the Paranet Papers supplement, he fittingly gets upgraded to "Legendary Wiseass".
  • For the Funnyz: Could be the poster boy for this.
  • Friend to All Children: No matter how intimidating Harry may be to grown-ups, he is never anything but sweet and kind to young people, treating them seriously and enjoying spending time with them.
  • Full-Contact Magic: He's no Squishy Wizard, except in a Puny Earthlings sense. For all the chucking fire around, he's quite likely to slug someone. Or shoot them.
  • Freak Out: Undergoes a subtle and prolonged one in Changes, culminating in being Driven to Suicide. Eventually, he gets better.
  • Game Face: Unknown by Harry himself, but Murphy spends some time reflecting on how he normally seems versus how he gets in a fight. He goes from quirky, gangling nerd to confident, scary badass with the power of the universe at his fingers.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Boy howdy. Harry will be kind and caring to any child. He will shovel his elderly landlady's sidewalk in winter. He will also exterminate an entire race of monsters who try to hurt his daughter. He nearly burned off his apprentice's face to teach her humility and understanding that that what they were involved in wasn't a game.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Small Favor includes a partial listing of his (large) collection and he acquires more after that, including some very noticeable ones on his face in Turn Coat.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: Harry starts to realize how much he cares about Murphy in Blood Rites after he sees her around Kincaid and realizes how jealous he's getting.
  • Handicapped Badass: Getting his arm burned nearly to a crisp in Blood Rites didn't slow him down much, and he still had limited use in Dead Beat, wherein one of the most badass moments in the entire series happened.
  • Healing Factor: A very, very slow one- improved bodily regeneration is the reason wizards live so long, and it means he can eventually recover from what should be permanent injuries. Now enhanced as of Changes, one of the many benefits of becoming the Winter Knight.
  • Heartbroken Badass: At a few points, particularly the start of Summer Knight and the end of Changes.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Frequently says that he's not a good man, holds himself to a nigh-impossible moral standard (Michael gently but firmly calls him out on this in Skin Game), and when someone gives him a What the Hell, Hero?/The Reason You Suck speech, he rarely disagrees, even if it's only partially true.
  • Heroic Willpower: Harry has been tempted many a time to use dark magic and resists each temptation. Through this will power, he not only endures the mental manipulations of Lasciel's shadow, he turns around and slowly changes her to the point where she is willing to die for Harry Dresden. Later in Cold Days he endured and broke Mother Winter's bind on him, and later shattered a Mind Rape upon him and forced an Outsider to name itself.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted. Harry once had a sword cane, and while his physique gave him a lunge with some distance, he wasn't too skilled with it, and it was simply impractical if he couldn't solve his problems with staff, blasting rod, and revolver. The events of Dead Beat left Harry owed a sword, but unable to get one. And finally, Harry simply won't be receiving any sword from Mab, like Fix got from Titania.
    Jim Butcher: What's he gonna do with a sword? He'll cut himself. Honestly, if he had a sword he'd fall on it, you know he would. Somebody would take it away from him and hit him with it. That's the kind of thing that happens.
  • Hero's Classic Car: Played with. It's parodied in the sense that, rather than most examples of this trope giving the Hero a really cool classic car, Harry drives a classic VW Bug he calls the "Blue Beetle". Not really a cool car to begin with; and then consider that it starts pretty lived in, runs rather poorly, and keeps getting battle scars and differently-colored replacement parts over the years (including an encircled 53 graffitied onto the hood). Then again, classic cars are Justified in that wizards mess mightily with modern electronics, so wizards like Harry cannot drive any car newer than roughly the 1970's for very long before they stop working.
    • Harry finally got it played straight in Turn Coat when Lara Raith lends Harry one of her family's cars, a mint condition 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith (of course) which had a pristine white paint job. Harry was more than a little impressed with it.
    • And again in Cold Days when Mab gives him a retrofitted Oldsmobile Hearse painted dark blue with a neon purple flame decal. Of course, it gets wrecked within a few chapters when Ace tries to blow up Harry, and it gets sent to Mike the Mechanic. The newly refitted vehicle comes out as a hotrod, and immediately dubbed the Munstermobile.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • To the "straights" he's at best a quirky man who knows way too much and thus is pretty damned creepy, and at worst they see him as delusional or a charlatan who may or may not be conning Chicago PD out of good money. And so, Internal Affairs, Detective Rudolph in particular, rabidly hates him and tried to jail him at least once, while trying to undermine him and everyone connected to him repeatedly.
    • The FBI suspects him of secretly being a dangerous criminal, considering that one time four FBI agents investigated him and vanished a few days later, and his criminal record suspects him of kidnapping, murder, and at least two cases of arson, and he was accused of blowing up another building. At least Agent Tilly is willing to deal straight with Harry, and in no small part because Rudolph was trying so hard to nail Harry with a false indictment.
    • To the White Council, however, he is considered a loose cannon who may or may not be a devious, dangerous schemer at Black Magic, and it doesn't help that he caused a war with the Red Court of vampires, and then a war with the Fomor, by creating a power vacuum in his genocide of the Red Court.
    • His ostensible allies don't trust him, and the only people he's got on his side are a gaggle of werewolves, the Knights, a few members of the Chicago PD's Special Investigations unit, his half-brother, his apprentice, a Foo dog, and a smattering of allies in the Faerie Courts and the White Council. And knowing Harry, being homeless and dead for half a year is going to cause even more problems.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In 'Ghost Story, Harry comes to realize that the lines he crossed in Changes made him into the very things he was fighting. And then later in the book, realizes that this conclusion was an overreaction to one bad decision and that he's still fundamentally a good guy.
  • Hollywood Dateless: Despite the fact that he sometimes laments that he doesn't have much of a love life, Harry is more unwilling to date the women in his life rather than unable, due to his personal hangups and issues. While he had steady relationship with Elaine, Susan and Luccio over his lifetime, and has had years of Will They or Won't They? with Murphy, over the years Harry has had plenty of moments of female attention from the likes of Lara Raith, Inari Raith, Justine, Lash, Mab, Maeve, Aurora, Molly, Sigrun, Andi, and various bad guys. Though most cases of that last one was either because of manipulation in mind, or just plain crazy.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's snarky enough that it isn't immediately apparent, but just watch him react to challenges and/or slurs. In fact, the villains who are targeting Harry specifically (instead of just being unlucky enough to get in his way) often deliberately take advantage of his tendency toward this, to the point that Harry himself turns the Flaw Exploitation right back around in one villain's face.
  • Honor Before Reason: Harry will swear up and down that he's an Anti-Hero, but he's kind of exaggerating. Then again, he has been repeatedly told he's a menace to society and been treated like a terrible person for most of his life, so it's possible he might have started believing everyone's bad opinion.
  • Hope Bringer: In Ghost Story Molly notes that he was this for the little guy in the supernatural world. He scared off so many powerful dark things from Chicago and as a Warden, taught the Paranetters how to band together to be able to take on stronger forces.
  • Houseboat Hero: At the end of Changes. Briefly.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: He's about 6' 8", and Murphy, not an inch over 5 feet, supplies the "tiny girl" part. According to Welcome to the Jungle, he's six-foot-nine, actually. Everyone supplies the "tiny girl" part. Except maybe Gard. And Titania and Mab when it suits them.
  • Human Weapon: As the Winter Knight, Harry is expected to be his own most dangerous weapon, not needing to rely on magical trinkets and items to survive. That said, Mab has nothing against using them if it makes the job easier, just so long as they aren't a crutch.
  • Hurting Hero: With his parents' deaths, loss of a childhood friend, forced to murder one parental substitute, lived in fear of summary execution for several years, got a girl but lost her, got close to another but she didn't want to get serious, had another girl really close and they started to become genuine friends when she died to protect him, and many other emotional traumas. Lara puts it succinctly.
    Lara Raith: You wear your pain as armor.
  • Hypocritical Humor: He will act mysterious and enigmatic, citing it as a wizard's prerogative, in order to mess with Thomas, Molly, or Murphy, but then complains when the Gatekeeper or Mother Summer and Winter act mysterious and enigmatic towards him.
  • I Am Not a Gun: He often reminds the various more powerful beings trying to manipulate him that he is their employee, not their pawn.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: A promise to Mab keeps him from knowingly seeking suicide to get out of being the Winter Knight. He tried to get around it by anticipating the deal and arranging the hit before the promise was made, and then having Molly make him forget about the hit.
  • Idiot Hero: Harry's tendency to not think the long-term consequences of his actions through can leave this impression. He's not stupid in any sense of the word, but he sometimes gets in over his head due to his habit of acting first and thinking later, though he grows out of this. Some of his enemies consider him one as well, but they usually discover a bit too late that he's much smarter than they gave him credit for.
    Lloyd Slate: Spooky, he doesn't look all that smart.
  • Improvisational Ingenuity: Dresden is a decent powerhouse by about the 5th or 6th title, but his real advantage is that he's very intelligent and good at analyzing his opponents, then crafting ways to defeat them using tactics that they absolutely would not have predicted. He's taken down a fairy queen by arming a bunch of pixies with boxcutters, whomped a necromancer that was much stronger than he was by bringing along a zombie tyrannosaurus, and is apparently the only person who ever figured out that Nicodemus can be harmed by his own noose.
  • Indy Ploy: He often does these in the first few books, and though he later starts to prefer Xanatos Speed Chess he's still pretty good at pulling off one of these in a pinch.
  • Informed Loner: Harry thinks and reacts to problem as though he were entirely alone and unloved, but events in the series have rendered this attitude increasingly invalid. This is because, before Ebenezar started mentoring him, he basically was alone. A big part of his Character Development has been realizing that he has people he can rely on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He considers it "the prerogative of wizards to be grumpy." Especially true during Dead Beat, Proven Guilty, and White Night, when he has a Fallen Angel working on him.
  • Kill It with Fire: Harry can bring a lot of power to bear with fire magic, and it's his usual go-to for combat evocation. Many supernatural baddies either outright cannot withstand fire or have a healthy respect for it as it is a natural cleansing element. This served as a plot-point-by-omission when he doesn't try to Kill It With Fire during most of Small Favor and also served as character-development-by-omission in Dead Beat.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Harry's landlady considers him this. It's one of the reasons she hasn't thrown him out after missing rent checks and "wild late-night parties."
  • Lady and Knight: Becomes this to Molly after the events of Cold Days.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Quite literally. Lash does this so that the part of Harry's brain that have her impressed upon them will be burned out when Harry goes under psychic attack. She does however leave him a gift of the knowledge of how to play guitar.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • He points out that the Law of Magic against necromancy only applies to ''human'' dead.
    • He used this plus Exact Words at Molly's trial. He pointed out that the whole of the Senior Council present hadn't voted. Since it was only Rashid and the Merlin present, the Merlin would be the default proxy if the others were absent and hadn't made arrangements, giving his vote the added weight of the five who weren't present. The Merlin was willing follow protocol and wait for Rashid to vote, even though it was a forgone conclusion that the majority vote of one favored death. They couldn't touch Molly until all voted. Rashid stalled long enough that Michael arrived with McCoy and all of the Council recruits that he saved, giving Harry the leverage he needed to convince the Merlin to change his vote.
    • He also uses this, crossed with Exact Words in Small Favor, to avoid getting slaughtered by Eldest Gruff. The Eldest Gruff mentioned that he serves the Summer Court and then the Summer Queen, and Harry reasoned that the Eldest Gruff killing him when he still had a favor to call upon would look poorly on Summer. The Eldest Gruff agreed but points out that a single favor didn't carry enough leverage to spare his life. Harry still works this to his advantage by cashing the favor and requesting a doughnut. They shared a good laugh over the matter, and Eldest Gruff left to fulfill the favor. The got Eldest Gruff out of the picture (or rather, allowed him to leave it) long enough for Harry to end the situation and the hit on him from Summer. In this case, it works mostly because the Eldest Gruff wasn't under orders and not that keen on killing Harry anyways and thus is willing to play along.
  • Made of Iron: By the climax of every single book, Harry's pretty much always running on too little sleep and several injuries, but keeps going anyway.
  • Mage Marksman: He routinely uses guns in combination with his magical tools. When confronted by a group of wannabe warlocks, their leader is incredulous that Harry would use "mortal weapons." It says a lot that the guy didn't merit a visit from the wardens, nor was he familiar enough with them to know that their traditional swords and combat magic are complimented with automatic firearms and grenades.
  • Magnetic Hero: Not that Harry realizes it but over the course of the series he has won the friendship of the Alphas, the Carpenter family, the Knights of the Cross, Lash, Butters, the respect of John Marcone who often aids him, Rashid the Gatekeeper, Listens to Wind, many young Wardens as well as their leader, and so many others in the mortal and supernatural community and many of them would aid him without hesitation. Not bad for a guy who started out with only Murphy, Bob and Mister.
  • Male Gaze: Harry notices women who look good, to the point that one review site named the "Dresden Goggles" trope after him. This is one of his big character flaws and blind spots, and is explained by his screwed-up upbringing, including deliberate manipulation of his sexual development and the complete lack of a maternal figure.
  • Meaningful Name: Malcolm Dresden was a stage magician, and thus named his son after three of the greatest stage magicians in history. And considering how many seemingly-impossible situations he's escaped from.... Out-of-universe, his last name was also chosen in reference to the firebombings of the German city Dresden in World War II, mostly because Harry has a similar effect on nearby buildings.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • By Butters in Dead Beat with Thomas as his lover.
    • Later takes advantage of this in White Night to sneak into Thomas' apartment. And once word passed to SI, they were merciless... particularly Murphy.
  • Mr. Seahorse: He gets pregnant with a spirit of intellect, like Bob, born from Lash's sacrifice. If not for Molly "Delivering" it, it would have popped out of his mind in the same vein of Athena out of Zeus, only his head wouldn't have healed up.
  • Moment of Weakness:
    • Harry's breakdown when talking with Aurora in Summer Knight and his realization of how much he let Susan's suffering damage his own life.
    • Harry is forced to admit to Lash's growing influence when such a moment causes pointless collateral damage in White Night.
    • The realization that his actions have such tremendous long-term consequences, including breaking Molly's mind causes another one in Ghost Story.
    • In Skin Game, a particularly strong one led Harry to Michael Carpenter's door. There's a reason Harry refers to Michael as a "good man."
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: Had a (ultimately tragic) relationship with tabloid reporter Susan Rodriguez, and has had a star-crossed will-they-or-won't-they with Karrin Murphy for some time.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Proven Guilty has just such a moment. Yes, it's awesome that he kills a xenomorph with Hellfire, but immediately after, he finds that the girl he was rescuing from it had bled to death, and he might have saved her life if he hadn't been focused so much on, and having so much fun with, obliterating the monster.
    • A completely heartbreaking example in Changes:
      I used the knife.
      I saved a child.
      I won a war.
      God forgive me.
    • A significant part of Ghost Story hinges on Harry realizing just how horrible the consequences of his choices were, especially after he learns that he was the one who arranged for his death and had Molly assist him. This revelation shakes him to the core.
  • Nay-Theist: He acknowledges the likelihood of the Almighty's existence and is very much likely an insanely powerful being. Doesn't mean Harry will be penitent to the being. This has more to do with Harry's self-image and low self-esteem than his views on God. It's not that Harry doesn't like or respect God, it's that he feels unworthy to be on God's team. There's every evidence that God doesn't necessarily agree. Of course, Harry's standard for worthy behavior is Michael Carpenter, who sets the bar kind of high.
    Harry: The Almighty and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: By killing the Red Court he created a power vacuum that various baddies are trying to fill, and with his death he wasn't there to help his friends. His arranged suicide also sent the message to his brother that Harry would rather die than be like him.
  • The Nicknamer:
    • It even becomes significant in-story on occasion; his naming of Ivy and Lash gave them identities separate from the Archive and Lasciel, respectively, and naming Bob allowed him to develop a different personality as well. It's implied that this will also happen with Alfred Demonreach.
    • And when he calls Uriel "Uri", it ticks off (and terrifies) an archangel who has the power to unmake galaxies. That last sylable is a VERY important part of his name - it's the "God" part of "Light of God". On the other hand, he has no problem with Mr. Sunshine, especially given his association with fire and sunlight.
  • Noodle People: He's 6 foot 9 (or 2.05 m.) and skinny. Aftermath (narrated by Murphy,) mentions that when he's not in combat situations he instinctively moves with exaggerated care and restraint to avoid accidentally hitting someone or something with his long limbs.
  • Not So Different: Cold Days has Mab accuse him (for an arguable value of "accusation") of being this to his late master Justin in how he indoctrinated Molly into being a Wizard who's loyal and willing to die for him at the same time he helped her to develop her talents to the point she became a powerful ally of his. None of this was ever his intention, but she's not exactly wrong.
  • Oblivious to Love: Harry can be... a bit dense when it comes to women. He's not oblivious to sex, he understands that perfectly. It's just that he has a few self-esteem issues. And a tendency to attribute others' seduction attempts to their own problems or secret plots to control him (which, in all fairness, they usually are). And difficulty with understanding or recognizing subtlety. And all of that factors into how he communicates with and interprets other people.
    Thomas: What does a woman need to do, Harry? Rip her clothes off, throw herself on top of you, and shimmy while screaming, "Do me, baby!"?
  • One-Man Army: He has the highest "monsters killed/time" ratio on the entire White Council, except possibly for Ebenezar.note 
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Harry's shot at the end of Changes and falls into Lake Michigan. It's been confirmed that he's dead. Though he was Only Mostly Dead, so he gets better.
  • Papa Wolf: Few things make him madder than threatening or actually harming children. Along comes Changes...and let's just say that no one would be making any attempts on Harry's daughter any time soon should Harry still be alive.
    • In Skin Game, Nicodemus tries. And runs away screaming, having lost his squires, and gained a new Knight of the Cross to fight him. So after that, it's even more unlikely that anyone will mess with her.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Usually seen scowling, snarling, glowering, or frowning.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Highly prevalent in the first few books, but begins to be mitigated as the series progresses, especially once Harry starts getting a regular paycheck as a Warden. Nicodemus and others note that this may be by Harry's choice as he could make money a lot of ways using magic but instead, he keeps to the streets helping the poor people who have no where else to go. This is possibly ended after Skin Game, unless his share of the heist gets lost (which would be just his luck).
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He's one of the strongest wizards in the world, and according to Murphy's narration in Aftermath, seeing him in action is downright terrifying, even when he's on your side.
    • Fuck with Harry Dresden, and he will blow you up. Fuck with his apprentices, and he will set your internal organs on fire while you're still alive. Fuck with his daughter, and he will wipe out your entire species.
  • Playing with Fire: He likes fire. It took Mavra crispy-frying his hand to make him stop using it.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: He quotes Star Wars and he's badass enough to be a Jedi. Honestly, the man is full of pop-culture references, ranging from classic movies to literature.
  • Powers as Programs: The Winter Mantle contains knowledge and, perhaps, a low level sentience and understanding of things around Harry. The magic it imbues in Harry, giving him access to his new ice magic, only needed the spell names Harry chooses to give them to have access to them.
  • Power Stereotype Flip: Since Changes, the Hot-Blooded Harry has lots of ice magic at his disposal.
  • Power-Up: Being one of the strongest Wizards of his generation is nothing to sneeze at, but he gets a few upgrades as he goes along. Word of Jim states that gaining a power up isn't exclusive to Harry, but he has a few of the most unique.
    • He gets access to Hellfire while Lash was in his head, and loses it after her Heroic Sacrifice. He could've even more power as well as agelessness if he took up Lasciel's coin, but Harry staunchly refused damnation.
    • Shortly afterwards, it's implied Lucifer himself intervened in the mortal world by doing a favor for his minions by creating and sustaining a giant ring of Hellfire, in spite of the agreement against divine interference in the mortal realm. Doing so allowed Heaven's black-ops guy Uriel to intervene to balance the scales, and quietly gave Harry access to Hellfire's angelic equivalent, Soulfire, which is good for hurting daemons and the like, but it's real strength is in boosting his magic, particularly creation. In one instance he uses it to actualize his will to counter a deity flexing her own will on him.
    • Harry later earns the respect of Daemonreach and becomes its Warden. While it can be considered more of a responsibility than a gift, as long as he's on its shores, he gets a massive boost to power, omniscient knowledge of the island's surface, and its full cooperation on it manipulating its surface. It's very situational since few of Harry's enemies will go there, but it's still a pretty big boost.
    • He's taken up the mantle of the Winter Knight. It gives him low grade Super Strength (he can bench press 400 kilos, almost 900 pounds), he feels less pain, he gets a small Healing Factor, it gives him enhanced stamina, makes him sure-footed and silent while walking on ice, and it can augment his magic, even his fire spells. Also, while he already could, on paper, use ice magic (and has done so a few times in the past), it took him a lot of effort and magical juice to get relatively minor and unsophisticated effects; but with the Winter Mantle, he has easy access to ice magic with some good fine control. While it gives him some pretty good benefits, it's at least semi-sentient and thinks in very instinctual terms, including but not limited to power, authority, territoriality, and indulging the user's baser instincts. In practical terms, it tries to push Harry to dominate, kill, and rape those around him, and if the Mantle doesn't agree with what Harry's doing, he has to reframe the task ahead of him in terms the Mantle can understand or it won't cooperate.
  • Pregnant Badass: No. Really. With Bonnie, Lash's child no less. Lash's last action was out of love and self-sacrifice, which imbued Harry with their child, a spirit of intellect which was gestating inside his skull for years. He was ignorant of her until she was nearly born in Skin Game.
  • Pride: Not in the usual flavor, but he falls under this sin. He holds himself to impossible standards, to be able to keep his friends and family safe and when things go wrong, like with Michael ending up with a bummed leg, he thinks he failed them and punishes himself mentally.
  • Properly Paranoid: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Let's see.
    • The first one, Justin, was highly abusive. [note]At least from Harry's point of view. While Justin was arguably emotionally abusive, his apparent inability to bond with his adopted children and betraying Harry and Elaine the way he did left Harry with a mess of emotional issues and without the context of the harsh training for wizardom.[/note] and Harry killed him in self-defense.
    • He briefly had a second one, Lea, that was his Fairy Godmother. She just made him stronger with Training from Hell, is insane by most reasonable standards, and until they "reconciled", Harry spent much of his life avoiding her to avoid being turned into a dog.
    • His third (and the second actual mentor) was Ebenezer, with whom he had a good relationship with until the day Harry learned he was secretly the Council's assassin the whole time. Harry was understandably angry about the blatant hypocrisy, but Harry forgave him when he came to terms with the necessity of such a role. He later learned that this mentor was also his grandfather, a secret kept from him for some time.
    • And now Mab's a pseudo-mentor to him and by the end of Cold Days, he privately and credibly threatens her immortal life twice, to which she's just grateful he's not an idiot nor a sycophant. Things just keep getting better and better.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Harry prefers revolvers, generally large-caliber ones, because of both the simplicity, the power of such a high-caliber weapon, and because having a .44 shoved in your face is quite intimidating. Harry also believes it's justified because of his "Murphyonic Field", that any other, more complicated firearms would have a very high likelihood of jamming/malfunctioning for Harry; revolvers are simple, making the chance of them failing him at critical moments no greater than it would be for a vanilla mortal. Murphy chides him on using revolvers (without any speedloaders no less, just loose shells in his pocket) at one point in Turn Coat, asking him if he's ever seen modern automatics ever jam, which is corroborated by other Wardens using semiautos without problem.
  • Ring of Power: Starts off with one that builds up force each time he moves his arm, capable of knocking a big man off his feet and flipping a car. He eventually upgrades to modified ones, one on each finger, capable of delivering impacts common with high speed car crashes and could possibly flip 24 cars when fully charged .
    • Lacking any rings in Skin Game, he just carves the spell into his wizard's staff. Seventy-seven times.
  • Running Gag: In addition to frequently (correctly) being blamed for buildings erupting into flame (with Blood Rites opening with 'the building was on fire and it wasn't my fault'), later books introduce one revolving around Harry's particular method of becoming the Winter Knight, and people who are aware of it. Among other things, he slept with Mab. She made sure all of Faerie saw it happening. Come Skin Game, whenever Harry jumps over something, he yells, "PARKOUR!"
    • Harry's Destructive Savior tendencies are another, to the point where Marcone reveals that he has flimsy, light doors at dramatic (rather than strategic) entry points.
  • Sad Clown: He may make joke. He may smile. Odds are part of it is false and he is hurting deep inside.
  • Sanity Slippage: In Dead Beat, Harry is clearly feeling the effects of the Shadow in his head. He's becoming more and more aggravated and short-tempered as the story progresses, and his friends are becoming afraid of him. He was noticed speaking to empty rooms as though having a conversation with somebody only he could see, but then he was the only one who could see and hear Lasciel when she assumed the identity of Sheila. They come to terms, and he's clearly doing better by the next book.
    • Related to the former, during Proven Guilty and White Night, he gets increasingly short-tempered, which Murphy points out in White Night - while he's always been angry, he's now more so, to the point where he can end up in a blind rage. It turns out to be Lasciel's work.
    • Again in Cold Days, the influence of the Winter Mantle is giving Harry impulses to rape and kill the people around him, though he is resisting with effort. He didn't come out of Mab's domain unchanged however, and Murphy notices that at least a small part of him has started to enjoy the violence that comes with being the Winter Knight.
    • In Skin Game, while Harry's got a hold on the Winter Mantle (or at least, figured out how to control it) Butters is afraid this is happening because he's Locked Out of the Loop. In fairness, this is justified, but he doesn't know it.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Constantly. Most important in Grave Peril, where he breaks the Accords and starts a war over doing the right thing.
  • Secret Keeper: Over the course of time, Harry has come to know a few big secrets in the series.
    • He knows how to perform the Darkhallow ritual.
    • He knows Lara Raith is the power behind the White Court and that Thomas is his half-brother.
    • Harry keeps the fact Maggie is his daughter a secret.
    • Harry knows about the island of Demonreach and its nature. This is a secret known to a few major players in the supernatural world, but Harry learned of it when he was still young. Not only that, but it allowed him to be its Warden as well as learning its origin, and the only other ones we know who also knew it is Bob, the original Merlin, and Demonreach itself.
    • Harry knows Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness, was mortal once.
    • Harry knows how to kill immortals, a secret he learned from Bob.
    • Harry knows that reality has always been under attack by Outsiders, and that the Winter Court is responsible for keeping them out.
    • Harry knows that Margaret La Fey's father (and thus, his grandfather) was Ebenezar McCoy.
  • Sensor Character: Wizards can sense the presence of magic in others. Harry can tell how strong the other person is from skin contact, usually just a handshake.
    • He can use his wizard's senses to sense magic in the environment and glean details about it. Harry mentions that sensory magic isn't his strong suit, yet his basic wizard's senses can recognize the signature of a caster by sensing the residual magic around where they last cast a spell, and could recognize that person through skin contact.
    • His magical Sight can also tell him a lot about people and the environment, as he can see what a person's true nature is, albeit in a fashion that seems to carry a lot of allegory, and it can see through illusions, no matter how good or powerful. He could see the "bones" in the stadium of Chichen Itza, where players routinely died for centuries, and Molly could see his ghost with it. The downside is that Seeing things can reveal something horrible enough to damage their sanity, and they have perfect recall of the things that they Seen, no matter how long or how hard they try to forget.
    • And finally, Harry has learned to Listen. It's a skill that he picked up to hear small things very well or very selectively. He's not certain if it came bundled with the Wizard package, or if he just has really good hearing and has just learned to focus to pick up details and block out background noise. Gatekeeper Rashid is, to his knowledge, the only other character Harry met that has learned to do this.
  • Significant Birth Date: Halloween. Since this is also when dark power is at its strongest, his birthdays tend to really suck.
    • Cold Days reveals that this is also the day of the year when immortals can change and die. As it's hinted that Harry has a special destiny, this is probably not a coincidence.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Harry might occasionally bumble along and wing it on numerous occasions, but make no mistake; beneath the gangly, wisecracking exterior lurks an extremely sharp mind. Several villains have found out - often to their cost - just how much of a steel trap Harry's brain really is. Part of this is Obfuscating Stupidity - how much, exactly, is up for debate.
    Lloyd Slate: Spooky. He doesn't look all that smart.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Tends to drop into this when he's not just being outright snarky and rude.
  • Squishy Wizard: Only in a relative sense. Harry is a big man who keeps himself in good physical condition, as he recognizes that running away very fast is a good way to stay alive, and sometimes hitting something with a sturdy piece of wood is more effective than a spell. Still, he's only human, and up against all sorts of supernatural nasties who are quite capable of reducing him to a smear on the wall if they get the chance, so he usually relies on his wits.
  • Stepford Snarker: He snarks to hide his pain and/or fear.
  • Survival Mantra: When Harry sees a Skinwalker in its true, gruesome, terrifying, evil, monstrous form, he nearly is driven into a permanent gibbering puddle. After crashing his car, which he was in when he Saw the creature, he hobbles his way to Will and Georgia's home reciting the prime numbers in escalating order to not think about the creature because any time he did, he broke down.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: When Harry allows the Winter Knight Mantle to take over. He effortless tears through several Sidhe with ice claws, killing several of them in the initial assault. Of course this being the Mantle, Harry's filled with murdery and rapey intents.
  • Super Strength: Gains a relatively low level version after becoming the Winter Knight.
  • Talking in Your Dreams/Talking to Themself:
    • In a few instances when he was unconscious, Harry has a conversation with his subconscious and/or his Id. While he consistently looks like a Dark Wizard version of Harry, in the first instance in Fool Moon he actually gave Harry some good advice. In the following instances, his Id encourages Harry to follow his baser desires, which Harry rebuffs. In his more recent appearance, he's trying to warn Harry's conscious mind that the original Lash is about, and to protect Bonny.
    • It's not known if other wizards have ever manifested and conversed with their subconscious mind the way Harry has, and a more cynical reader could consider it a sign of Harry having gone off the deep end, aside from Harry's id having actually conversed with Lash, as did Molly when she "midwifed" Bonny.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He's about 6' 8", has dark hair and dark eyes, and is an epic wiseass.
  • Thanatos Gambit/ Memory Gambit: In Ghost Story, it's revealed that Harry arranged his assassination with Kincaid and then deleted the memory. Yikes.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As the series progresses, Harry gradually goes from being a semi-athletic gumshoe who gets exhausted slinging a few spells to a well-toned, building-crushing chessmaster who can sling with the nastiest wizards and monsters the world over. And this is prior to the events of Changes, where he finally becomes the Winter Knight.
    • He's taken multiple levels. When Susan was turned he suffered a Heroic BSoD and started kicking more ass; when he started training with Murphy he learned enough martial arts that he actually could kick ass; when his hand was charbroiled he began fighting smarter and developed more clever uses of his spells; when he had a demonic entity living in his head he learned a lot about the world (and got access to Hellfire while she was there); when he got an apprentice he relearned better ways of casting magic; when he got soulfire from Uriel he started kicking more ass; when he got the Genius Loci, he gained power and a super sense while on it; and once he started living in isolation on the island, he taught himself parkour by running through the prison. And all the while, in terms of magical power, stamina, and skill, he's getting Stronger with Age.
  • Touched by Vorlons:
    • For changing the Shadow of Lasciel into the self-sacrificing Lash, Uriel chose Harry to be given Soulfire, the Fires of Creation, replacing Hellfire.
    • Donar Vaderung (aka Father Odin) tells him in Cold Days his dying and subsequent resurrection has marked him on deeper level than he knows. He is now a "fulcrum," a turning point in many plots.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Harry loves Burger King, Mac's steak sandwiches, and Mac's beer.
  • Tragic Hero: Ever since he broke free from Justin's conditioning, Harry's wanted nothing more than to prove to the world that he isn't some mindless pawn to be deployed against people's enemies. Unfortunately- as various people who believe he is just that try to force him into their service (and Harry fends them off, which inadvertently increases his perceived 'value', which makes more people try to conscript him...)- it's become clear that that's impossible. He has to be content with only a few people knowing the truth.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Lasciel, and Lea to some extent. The former wants him to give up his soul to her. The latter wants him so deeply indebted to her she can turn him into a dog to protect him, claiming that he would be safer and happier that way. To be fair, she might not be entirely wrong about that...
  • Tyke-Bomb: It's implied Justin was training Harry and Elaine to be this. They also count as a deconstruction: as far as the White Council is concerned, Harry is one of these, so they aren't exactly friendly to him; Harry has entirely justifiable angst from killing Justin (compounded by the fact that he knows killing with magic taints your soul); and throughout the series we see he has major trust issues.
  • Undying Loyalty: a mutual case with Murphy, once the Early Installment Weirdness cleared up. In Dead Beat, Mavra gets Harry to act on her behalf by blackmailing him with Murphy's ruin; in return, Harry threatens to come after Mavra with every weapon and upgrade he can get his hands on if Mavra ever tries it again. Harry lists off his potential options for this, and Harry flatly refuses every single one of them in later books... until he heads off to save Maggie in Changes, whereupon every single one of them is either taken up or seriously considered. In Cold Days, Harry gets this equal parts touching and terrifying line from Karrin:
    Murphy:"I don't know what I'm meant to do or who I ought to be. But what I do know is that I've got your back. Always. [...] So goddamit, don't you start taking the highway to Hell. Because I'm going to be right there with you. All the way."
  • Uninhibited Muscle Power: Butters speculates that this is all he really gains from the mantle of the Winter Knight.
  • Unluckily Lucky: Harry could be the poster boy for this trope. In pretty much every book, he is out of his depth fighting warlocks, vampires and Eldritch Abominations, beaten within the inch of death, and having a headache. Yet, he always manages to survive and save the day thanks to quick thinking, help of his True Companions, and dumb luck.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Sometimes. Jim makes a point that Harry has severe tunnel vision about some issues, such as when magic he isn't particularly good at is even being used (especially noncombat magic, water magic, and noncombat water magic). Books with other viewpoints show that some characters Harry writes off have Hidden Depths. This is also used to explain the occasional continuity errors, such as issues with geography and names changing between books (he's bad at that subject/heard the name wrong). Small Favor takes this to new level; the omission of one key item (Harry's ubiquitous blasting rod and fire magic) doesn't become apparent until one character points it out, and then Harry realizes that he's been Mind Raped by Mab.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Especially early in the series, Harry has massive amounts of magical brawn but is neither skilled nor subtle. Seeing senior Wizards and Wardens at work usually has him realizing how much he still has to learn. He's getting better after training Molly and again after training from Mab.
  • Vague Age: Because there isn't much reason to bring it up in his own narration, aside from occasionally griping about how he can't shake off things like all-nighters the way he could when he was 20, and remarking in Cold Days that he no longer looks younger than Thomas. The author comments on Twitter that he's "...25 in Storm Front and 36 in Cold Days," but admits that this might contradict canon. Also the fact that Wizards age slowly make it a bit less relevant, given Harry is going to be physically younger than his chronological age would suggest.
  • Walking Techbane: To the point where he can't have a water heater in his apartment. Or a refrigerator. Or light bulbs. When he gets a hot shower in Blood Rites, he describes it as bliss.
  • The Watson: Usually the one to whom the Monster of the Week is explained, mostly by Bob but sometimes by Mab, Luccio, etc.
  • Weapon of Choice: Harry's primary weapon is the blasting rod, which lets him focus magic into concentrated blasts of force or fire. He also routinely packs increasingly large (In the first book, he had a .38, he's moved up to a .50 caliber) revolvers of one stripe or another.
  • We Help the Helpless: Doesn't he ever.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: After becoming the Winter Knight, his impulses begin pushing him to become more and more predatory, in every sense of the word. Harry resists it, but finds the implications disturbing.
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: In Cold Days it is implied Queen Mab wants him for this as she is happy he gives her two serious, legitimate threats to her immortal life and with all every intent of going through with them if she crossed a line. As the Outsiders could even infect her, she wanted a Knight to kill her if the situation came about, not some loyal Yes-Man who may not realize her infection.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He has trouble assaulting female characters unless it is a life-or-death moment.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: From the get go, Harry demonstrates some pretty decent skills as a PI, but he develops some serious skills in the art of manipulation, cunning, and developing plans to leave him winning something even if he doesn't end up with all the marbles at the end. Then again, he had a Fallen Angel living in his head as a counsellor for a couple years, so maybe that helped. To elaborate:
    • In Blood Rites, he successfully dethrones the King of the White Court by using Lara Raith as his catspaw, a move that impresses her, since he manipulated her by claiming that he would be her catspaw.
    • In White Night, Harry outsmarts several members of the White Court and solidifies Lara's power base again by manipulating the situation. In Small Favor, he manages to outwit Nicodemus of all people, nearly killing him in the process.
    • In Turn Coat, Harry successfully comes up with a scheme to smoke out the White Council's mysterious traitor.
    • The entirety of Skin Game is a speed chess rematch with Nicodemus, which ultimately ends in Harry's favor when he's able to provoke Nicodemus into breaking his word, irrevocably tarnishing his name in the supernatural community, and ending in Nicodemus also murdering his own daughter, losing two coins in Hades' realm, his squires deserting him, and a new Knight of the Cross active. Admittedly, part of that was Harry being played by greater forces, but still.

    Bob the Skull 

Bob the Skull
Harry's snarky spirit companion.

Harry's wiseass spirit of intellect familiar, currently inhabiting a skull after some unspecified, long-ago incident that pissed Mab off at him. Since technology goes haywire around wizards, Harry can't use a computer, which is why he keeps Bob around. Bob knows how valuable he is, and as such Harry has to bribe him with things like porn and trips outside his skull to make sure he cooperates.

  • All Guys Want Sorority Women: Bob's first action when let out was to trigger and watch an orgy at a local sorority.
  • Bash Brothers: Bob's new role with Butters as the owner, after Butters lets him off the leash and he gets to show what he can do besides act as a knowledge bin.
  • Blow You Away: Downplayed example. In addition to "spirit of intellect", Harry occasionally refers to Bob as a "spirit of air".
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Maaaybe . . . In Small Favor Harry notes that Bob is a being of pure thought, which, in a sense, all fictional characters are too, and that Bob may consider the characters in his romance novels to be kin. He even talks to them as he reads. He's also mentioned to Harry that there are other universes where "fictional" characters are real, so it's possible that he has trouble keeping track.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Bob mostly serves as Harry's snarky assistant, chief information resource, and eyes and ears when the need arises. We had no reason to think that he was anything resembling powerful until we saw his evil side in Dead Beat, where he nearly killed Harry with necromantic magic in less than a minute. And though that was by trickery, it was also demonstrated just how dangerous his knowledge was, as it turned out that he was the spirit who helped Kemmler, among other things, create the Darkhallow. His power is also alluded to by Luccio in Small Favor when she (not knowing that Bob is still around and in Harry's possession) refers to him when discussing what an insane Archive would be capable of, remarking that he was a 'miniature Archive' in Kemmler's service and that 'the things it [Bob] was capable of were appalling'. It isn't until Changes, however, that it's really shown that Bob is an incredibly powerful entity in his own right, capable of shielding a human by resisting the willpower of the Lords of Outer Night and the Red King by himself. We see it even further in Ghost Story where Bob wrecks a number of Corpsetaker's lieutenants by himself and the kind of stuff Evil Bob was capable of, which might put him on even terms with a senior member of the White Council. That is powerful.
  • Deadpan Snarker: To the extent that he can hold his own in Snark-to-Snark Combat with Harry. Then again, his personality is based on his owner.
  • Dirty Old Man: Word of God is that his personality is based on his owner. He's obsessed with sex because Harry was a Hormone-Addled Teenager when he acquired Bob. He retains this personality after transferring to Butters because that's how he was when Butters first met him, and that first impression stuck.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bob is generally cheerfully amoral. But even he thinks Kemmler was a monster.
  • Evil Me Scares Me: Necro-Bob is seriously, seriously powerful, and while regular Bob has Blue-and-Orange Morality, the other guy pretty much just doesn't have any morality.
  • He Knows Too Much: Throughout the books it seems like Mab's desire to kill Bob stems from some kind of Noodle Incident, but it is revealed in Cold Days he knows how to kill immortals.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Harry, in that he's a memory spirit of immense knowledge and power (see Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass).
  • Instant Allegiance Artifact: He is completely and truly loyal to whoever owns his skull. This is why, despite all his potential power, Harry almost never took the risk of bringing him out into the field.
  • Leap of Faith: Bob states that he is actually incapable of making this. He is a being of reason and logic. That is his basis of power. To delve into matters of Faith is something he won't do as he could piss off the wrong angel, Fallen or otherwise.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Let's just say that when Bob needs to take on other spirits, he rarely has any trouble handling them, the only possible exceptions being a Physical God and his evil self.
  • Literal Split Personality: When accessing the memories/knowledge he gained under Kemmler Bob turns into the evil spirit Kemmler "twisted" him into. After this nearly kills or corrupts Harry Bob severs this part of himself. Which is great, now no future owners can use his knowledge for evil... except he severed enough knowledge to become an entirely new spirit, Necro-Bob.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Even though he has no body. Among other things, he usually spends his time reading sleazy romance novels when he is not helping Harry. Bob explains his fascination with the naked female form as being a purely aesthetic appreciation for their beauty and grace...
    Harry: And they have boobs.
    Bob: And they have BOOBS!
  • Magical Computer:
    • Literally. Bob has an expansive knowledge of all things magic, and somehow possesses the capability to understand the current state of magic and any changes to it that may have occurred.
    • And as of Ghost Story he has access to the Internet! God help us all.
  • Mind over Matter: He moves his skull on the spot, and can turn the pages of his paperback romances. This is all he can do... inside the skull. Outside of the skull, he can do one hell of a lot more.
  • Mr. Exposition: His general role in most stories. Harry either needs information, information translated, or Bob to go gather information. His knowledge is extremely extensive. In Cold Days he was shocked when Demonreach's glyphs were beyond even him.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The TV series changed him from an animated skull to a ghost attached to the skull. This is because it's much easier to show emotion and the like with, you know, a face.
  • Protectorate: Bob can be this to Harry. When Thomas comes to Bob for help taking care of Oblivion War business, Thomas tasks Bob to determine if the knowledge Thomas is about to give him would be a danger to Harry and if it is, keep it from him. After learning the scope of the War, how even knowledge of the War is dangerous, and considering Harry's general personality, Bob keeps silent about the matter to Harry. Presumably, he has kept quiet to Butters as well.
  • Putting on the Reich: Evil Bob worked for Kemmler for a while, and picked up an appreciation for SS gear, if Ghost Story is anything to go by.
  • Servile Snarker: He's bound to serve Harry. That doesn't mean he has to be polite about it.
  • The Smart Guy: Bob serves this purpose as the Mr. Exposition.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: You don't want to mess with Dark Bob.


Mister in his natural state.

Harry Dresden's feline of unusual size. Mister is a matter-of-fact animal and eats Harry's leftover food whenever possible.

  • Cats Are Magic: They can see ghosts, of course.
    • They can sense them, too. In Ghost Story when Harry's spirit shows up at Murphy's house and the gang doesn't believe it's him despite Mort's reassurances, Mister bounds in and shoulder bumps the air where Harry is like he used to when he was alive and Harry finds that he can actually pet Mister. After that, no one doubts.
  • Cats Are Mean & Cats Are Superior: When Mouse moved in, Mister immediately established his dominance in the household. Even when Mouse becomes dog-asaurus, Mouse respects Mister's authority.
  • Glamour Failure: Completely inverted. He has the unique attribute of being the only thing in the entire universe who looks exactly the same to Harry under Wizard Sight as he does without it. Of course, the one time Harry looked was a one-off gag in the short story Day Off.
  • Improbable Age: Harry found him as a kitten about three years before Storm Front. By the time of Skin Game, Mister is seventeen or eighteen years old— Maine Coons, which are probably the most comparable breed of cat in terms of size, typically only live for ten to thirteen years.
  • Killer Rabbit: Mister is this to the brownies who clean Harry's home, to the point that the other fairies have set up a guarding system.
  • Mega Neko: He weighs around thirty pounds.
  • Running Gag: Harry has a whole grab-bag of jokes about Mister's massive size, usually related to his eating habits (dogs, sheep, small children . . .) or breeding (part bobcat).
  • The Nondescript: From a metaphysical standpoint. According to Harry, Mister looks the exact same when looked at by his Third Eye as normally. Can also be considered an aversion in that sense too, since Mister is literally the only being Harry has encountered that is like this.
  • This Is My Human: Bob, who's ridden around in his head, says he thinks this.
    • Harry also makes note of this noting that Mister adopted him, not the other way around.
  • Uneven Hybrid: A non-human example. Harry speculates that he's at least part wildcat.


One of Harry's best friends... and most powerful allies.


Harry's dog, acquired accidentally when Harry was hired by a Tibetan monk to retrieve a litter of fu dog puppies from captivity. Mouse accidentally got left behind, and Harry couldn't get in touch with the monks to return him. Harry named him Mouse because he was small, grey and quiet... and the last line of the book in which he's introduced is, "Why did you buy large-breed puppy chow?" He has since become a good friend to Team Harry.

  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: As he is in fact a magic dog, it's not too odd that Mouse seems to be about as smart as an average human. He's still a dog, though; he can't talk (in Human speech at least), nor does he have opposable thumbs, and his idea of a good time is a nice long bellyrub and a non-shared hot dog.
    • In Changes fellow animals can understand Mouse, and he "speaks" clearly and articulately. He really is as smart as, or smarter than, a human.
    • In Skin Game, when Maggie Dresden mentions she and Mouse are reading James and the Giant Peach, Harry needs to consider if she means she's reading it to him, or if Mouse might be reading it too, considering the dog is as smart as most people.
    • In Zoo Day, it's mentioned that he read a book written by older Carpenter kids on how to fight children's monsters alongside Maggie. He understood it just as well as Maggie.
    • In Christmas Eve, he's helping Harry assemble a bike for Maggie. Harry's actually failing at following the instructions, while Mouse can follow them easily. Handing the pieces to Harry and even guiding him in what he's supposed to do, by the end Harry's mostly holding the instructions and letting Mouse direct him on what to do. Yes, Mouse is a better mechanic than Harry is. He's also read "A Christmas Carol" and recognizes quotes from it.
  • Animal Talk: In Zoo Day, he's shown talking to the various animals at the zoo, asking them to show off and do cool stuff so that Maggie has a good time. He mentions he finds it funny that humans think you need to use your mouth to speak.
  • Angel Unaware: Uriel refers to him as "cousin". His exact nature and true power remain a mystery.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mouse usually acts like a big goofball, but he's perfectly capable in a fight, and the one time we've been able to understand his speech (when Harry and co are in dog form) he openly threatens Lea to get her to turn them back. And he has absolutely no qualms with killing when needed, to the point that he thoroughly ensured Cassius and at least one vampire remained dead once he got them in his teeth.
  • Big Eater: According to the RPG, he consumes a HUUUUUGE amount of kibble. In Zoo Day, after he falls behind a little in a chase, he reminds the reader, a touch defensively, that he is a Good Dog and that means he gets lots of treats.
  • Big Friendly Dog: He's one of these except for the "dumb" part (which is all Obfuscating Stupidity), and plays it up to make himself less scary to people who meet him. In particular, he was able to win over Murphy who described herself as phobic about large dogs. He is so big that Dresden refuses to call him a "dog" anymore. "Dogasaurus" is common, and when refering to both of his pets, they were referred to as "Mister, my large cat, and Mouse, my small Ankylosaur."; Dresden's also claimed that he's half chow and half wooly mammoth. For comparison's sake, here are some pictures of Tibetan Mastiffs, which Mouse is said to appear to be a member of; see also Bernese Mountain Dogs, which Mouse has also been described as akin to. Mouse is BIGGER (as in at least three feet tall at the shoulder).
  • The Big Guy: For Harry's team. Words have described his level of power and threat to his enemies have varied between Hulk-tier and Superman-tier. He is the only thing besides a Sword of the Cross that Anduriel, Fallen of Nicodemus, outright fears.
  • Canine Companion:
    • He started off as Harry's, helping him detect some evil mojo if it was approaching, like Mavra in Dead Beat. He is fiercely loyal to Harry, and highly dangerous to anything evil.
    • After Harry's death, he is inherited by Maggie and in Skin Game reveals they rarely leave the other one's side. As Maggie still suffers from panic attacks after her kidnapping, but Mouse's presence is able to sooth her. Officially, Mouse is her medical dog for panic attacks, and thus allowed to be with her even in schools.
  • Color Blind Confusion: Like all dogs, Mouse can only see certain colors (Blue and Yellow).
    Mouse: "Maggie says my vest is Red. I do not know what means, but that is her favorite, and that makes me happy."
  • Cool Pet: A holy empowered 200-lb+ beast that could snap a man's neck with ease, threaten a high-ranking fae and be taken seriously, and scare Anduriel, the captain of Lucifer's guard, but then become the most loving and affectionate puppy, despite his size, to his master and friends. Also he can read and follow bike assembly instructions.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As his narration in Zoo Day indicates, this is something he picked up from Harry.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed:
    • Mouse has been known to sigh at Harry's density when it comes to the fair sex.
    • At one point plays up an injury to make the person whose fault it was feel guilty.
    • Also when Harry is giving the guitar a bad name.
    • When Andi is kidnapped again Mouse opines that she should be locked in a garage until she learns to take care of herself.
    • In Turn Coat he constantly has to intervene to keep Molly and Morgan from killing each other when Harry is away. He manages to express a certain degree of exasperation, if not outright shame, with the fact that everyone manages to start up a Mexican Standoff when left unsupervised by Harry for more then five minutes. When Harry scolds everyone for not just talking to each other, Mouse also demands to not be included in the scolding.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Mouse has had a keen sense of malevolence since he was a pup. He sensed Inari's developing succubus side and barked a warning and sensed the "guard" Harry met wasn't human either. Later on, Harry comes to notice his deep resonating growls as a good warning about. Even the hint of mortal black magic is able to be sensed by him, such as his first meeting with Molly after she used mind magic on her friends.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Mouse has a bark that crosses dimensional borders, shrugs off bullet wounds and being hit by a speeding van, and is a credible physical threat to a high-ranking fae. Luckily, he's also loyal, compassionate, and possibly more intelligent than his owner. Anduriel, Nicodemus' Fallen, has demonstrated fear of Mouse on multiple occasions.
    • Mab, the Winter Queen herself, treats Mouse with utmost civility, bowing to him and calling him Guardian.
  • Genius Bruiser: A highly intelligent dog who has a pretty good understanding of magic, and weighs about 200 lb.
  • Gentle Giant: Mouse is a huge dog and could easily savage . . . pretty much anyone he meets. He's also loving, affectionate, and perfectly happy receiving a belly rub from Harry's friends. He's even gentle enough that Murphy, who suffers a phobia of large dogs, can feel comfortable with him. That said, if you're a monster who's going after Harry or other innocents, the gloves come off.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Mouse is a temple dog, and apparently some sort of rules prevents him from intervening when Haunts hunt a child. So long as the Haunts do not get physical with their prey, at which point they would break the rules and become fair game for his intervention.
  • Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: Mouse earned his name because he fit into Harry's coat pocket as a puppy. Fully grown, he barely fits into the Blue Beetle's back seat.
  • Gut Feeling: He can sense dark energies.
    Mouse:: Something was wrong. I knew it in my tail.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: A dog variant. Mouse is a temple dog— part mortal canine, part Chinese guardian spirit called a Foo dog.
    • As revealed in Changes, his pedigree may be even more purely spirit than that; one of the characters refers to him as a Foo dog. Ancient Mai also calls him a Foo dog, and the Eebs refer to him as an "ice demon" from "the land of dreams" - aka Tibet.
    • In Ghost Story, Uriel himself refers to Mouse as "little cousin."
  • Heroic Dog:
    • On several occasions, Mouse saves Harry's life.
    • In Dead Beat he wanted to save Harry, but knew Harry well enough to save Butters first and dragged the young man to safety.
    • Also he is Maggie's protector as of Ghost Story.
  • Humans Are Good: He believes this about humans as a whole.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Mouse has shown a few times when he has used restrained force when dealing with troublemakers. When Thomas was overcome by hunger and nearly fed on Molly, Mouse only tackled him and gripped his neck in his jaws with only enough pressure to bind Thomas there but not kill him.
  • Intellectual Animal: He has at least human-level intelligence and even higher wisdom.
  • Ironic Name: Harry named Mouse back when he was a tiny puppy that fit into the pocket of Harry's duster. Mouse grows up to be a huge, huge dog.
  • It Can Think: While Mouse isn't a threat to him, Thomas was startled to see Harry speak to Mouse as if the dog could understand him, and hastily informed Mouse that he hadn't meant it when he'd said something rude about Harry earlier.
  • Large Ham: In Turn Coat Molly was scared Luccio had her mind addled and attempted to use mind magic to examine her. Morgan saw this and drew a gun he had hidden on his body and fired. Mouse took the bullet and held the situation to a stalemate until Harry arrived. When things were settled, Mouse played up his pain and suffering while Molly tended to the wound he got because of her to make her feel even more guilty about her stupid and reckless action.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Maggie, Harry's daughter. After the trauma the Red Court inflicted upon her, she is a very fragile girl. Thankfully, Mouse has been with her since then and comforts the young Maggie. While he gains certification to be a service dog for her panic attacks as a cover so she will always be protected from being stuffed into a fridge, the sad truth is she probably would have panic attacks if he isn't around.
  • Loyal Animal Companion:
    • Thomas is convinced that Harry was actually an impostor once when he showed up with a human sidekick. Might also qualify for Molly, since Harry frequently tells Mouse to hold back and protect her in dangerous situations.
    • After Harry's death, he is now this to Maggie. He is (officially) her service dog to justify him never leaving her side.
  • Made of Iron: Shrugs off being hit by a speeding van, and considers being shot a minor inconvenience. It's also noted that Foo dogs have much longer lifespans than normal dogs, making it likely that Mouse will be around to protect Maggie for longer than a normal human lifespan at least.
  • Make the Dog Testify: A non-verbal version. Towards the end of Turn Coat, Mouse's testimony is instrumental in bringing a Bad Guy to justice by identifying his scent. It helps that this is a court of wizards, so "My dog can identify the culprit" is not quite so blink-inducing, particularly since most of the Chinese wizards could immediately identify him as an intelligent, evil-detecting temple dog.
  • Mighty Roar: Mouse doesn't bark often, but when he needs to sound an alarm, he can literally be heard for a mile. It also will awaken people if there is danger and break through enchantments as well.
  • Noodle Incident: Somewhere between Proven Guilty and White Knight, the vets apparently once mixed up Mouse's papers, and tried to neuter him rather than give him the shot and x-ray he was there for. Whatever Mouse did exactly, Harry mentions he was glad the vet let him "pay for the damages".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: It has been proven that Mouse is at least as intelligent as any human. In Changes. When Harry and his associate are transformed by Lea into hounds, they can understand Mouse speak. Turns out he's smart enough and powerful enough to be called a demon by Lea, and frightens her enough to make her back down by threatening to bite her ass off.
  • Only Sane Man: A dog variant. He certainly sometimes feels this way around Harry and the company he keeps.
  • Papa Wolf: Don’t fuck with his family. He does not take kindly to it. During one particular occasion when his Shadow was planning to go after Maggie, Mouse made it very clear that if he did try, he would eviscerate him with his teeth even if it cost him his life just to make sure he didn’t go anywhere near her. It’s enough to make Shadow rethink his priorities.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Well, he is Harry's dog. In Zoo Day, he references The Dark Knight.
  • Power Glows: When he does, holy wrath is about to descend on someone.
  • Silent Snarker: Mouse certainly has his moments.
  • This Is My Human:
    • Towards Harry, this is his viewpoint as he tells Lea.
      Lea: How did [Harry] ever win you?
      Mouse: He didn't. I won him.
    • And in Zoo Day, he continually refers to Harry and Maggie as "my humans." Harry is "My Friend Harry," and Maggie is, "The Best Little Girl In The World."
  • Took a Level in Badass: By Word of God. You see, Temple Dogs draw on power from a home's threshold. Granted, being Harry's dog, he's learned a few ways around the limitations, but after moving to the Carpenters', "he went from Thing to Hulk when he moved in to protect Maggie." Best shown when, in Skin Game, he terrifies Anduriel.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Personality-wise. Mouse is a Combat Pragmatist and a Deadpan Snarker who confuses his opponent with a pop-culture reference.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People: A mysterious, extremely smart, holy empowered dog for a powerful wizard implied to be The Chosen One.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change: According to Maggie, Mouse has something akin to this. He can "cheat" and make things happen in more positive way: restaurants will have really nice waiters and tables free, tv shows play the most interesting commercials, animals at the zoo will be particularly active and do tricks while Maggie visits or doors Maggie might need will conveniently be unlocked. According to her Mouse doesn't use his power when she's at school. Mouse himself mentions spending energy for 2 days to make Maggie and Harry's day together in Zoo Day go very well.


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